Nancy Beck — a former chemical industry executive — has been nominated by Trump to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The Consumer Product Safety Commission is meant to protect our families from the products we use in our everyday lives, from children’s clothes and toys to baby cribs to cleaning products. But during her time at the EPA, Beck routinely and deliberately undermined chemical safety standards that protect children from harmful exposures.
Nancy Beck is the opposite of what our children need. She has shown time and time again that she will work to protect polluting industry, not families. If confirmed, Beck would serve in the role of Chair of CPSC for seven years.
Earlier this month, a group of more than 100 organizations, including Moms Clean Air Force, sent a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee, which is responsible for the CPSC appointment. In it, we laid out a scathing critique of Beck and her nomination. Below are excerpts from the letter.
“Per and polyfluroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of toxic chemicals that have been linked to testicular and kidney cancer, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, decreased response to vaccines, birth defects, immune system disorders and other health effects. PFAS are found in many consumer products as well as firefighting foam that is used at military bases…
“While at EPA, Beck assisted in delaying the release of a government study which found that EPA’s current health standard for PFAS is too weak to protect the public. The White House deemed the report a “public relations nightmare.” The final report is still stuck at the White House, where Beck is currently working on PFAS policies. Beck also failed to take measures to protect drinking water from PFAS contamination, to limit people’s exposure to PFAS in consumer products, or to provide information to communities about discharges into the local environment….
“Beck has played the leading role in EPA’s implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), revised in 2016 by Congress to require evaluation of chemicals, and protection of the public – including susceptible populations – from unreasonable risks. One of Beck’s first actions at EPA was to block a proposed ban on the use of the dangerous solvent methylene chloride in paint strippers. It is known to pose a lethal risk to workers and consumers. In the two years that followed, four people died using the paint strippers. After several organizations sued EPA, it finalized a ban on consumer sales, but not commercial use – meaning workers and consumers are still unprotected. Beck also blocked proposed bans on some workplace and consumer uses of trichloroethylene (TCE) a cancer-causing solvent that has also been associated with structural cardiac defects in newborns resulting from in utero exposures. And she pressured EPA scientists not to focus on the cardiac hazards when they evaluated whether the chemical presents unreasonable risk.
“But Beck was just getting started: she overrode agency science and legal staff to re-write EPA’s policies for evaluating toxic chemicals – directing staff to ignore potential exposure from drinking water, air pollution, and contaminated soil – a policy that will exclude the most vulnerable communities from protection….
“Beck has also blocked EPA from prohibiting the use of the brain damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos, which several states have since banned, and is under review by a federal court. And she has blocked the ban of a related pesticide commonly used in pet collars and other products, endangering children. A federal court recently ordered the agency to respond to a rulemaking petition to ban it….
“Confirming Nancy Beck would leave a seasoned and aggressive fox guarding the henhouse – and responsible for the protection of children and consumers – for the next seven years.”